Saturday, May 9, 2009
The Effects of R-410A on HVACR Technicians
If you work in the HVACR business, you have probably heard that the US Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are calling for the gradual elimination of all ozone-depleting refrigerants. This includes the most commonly used refrigerant today, HCFC R-22, which is found in residential and commercial systems everywhere. The regulations currently state that there will be no production or importing of HCFC R-22 beginning in 2020.
But, even sooner is the requirement that all HVAC/R manufacturers of air conditioning equipment must eliminate the use of HCFC R-22 in new equipment by January 1, 2010, in North America. Many factories have started this process and are now building systems that utilize HFC R - 410A refrigerant that does not contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer.
When you work with R - 410A now or in the future, you will quickly find that it is also a high pressure refrigerant. This will mean that there are safety issues that you must be aware of concerning its use. R - 410A is also a zeoptropic refrigerant, but considered by the EPA as a
Near Azeotropic Refrigerant Mixture (NARM),requiring different charging and servicing techniques than other 400-series blended refrigerants.
Currently HFC refrigerants such as R - 410A, are not covered under the refrigerant sales restriction of the Clean Air Act Amendments, and there is actually no current EPA certification required for working with HFC R - 410A. That means that the EPA does not require or mandate a separate certification for the handling of these refrigerants.
Also, there is currently no mandatory industry-wide requirement for participation in a course concerning R - 410A refrigerant from most equipment manufacturers. However, more and more are requiring “certification” when handling their R - 410A equipment to avoid injury or accidental damage. This training affects contractors and technicians who purchase R-410A equipment from authorized distributors, and typically assures they are
EPA 608 certified and R-410A-trained through independent programs, and/or show proof of attending an approved training seminar, or an approved online equivalent.
This training will assure that you understand the differences between R-22 and R-410A refrigerants. You must also understand the background, regulations, impact on the industry, and application requirements of using R-410A. And, manufacturers assume you will obtain the practical knowledge for safe performance of service techniques on systems containing R-410A refrigerant. New systems will require that you know how to use different tools and service equipment, and follow safety standards to successfully install R-410A systems. You should also be able to retrofit older systems and service existing R-410A systems in the field.
This “certification” is, in most cases, proof to a manufacturer that the contractor and/or technician have successfully studied or reviewed information and concerns that the manufacturer has about R-410A refrigerant, and in most cases, passed a written examination.
About the Author:
Phil Rains is Master Trainer/Technical Developer for HVACReducation.net. He has over 35 years of HVAC and Refrigeration experience in installation, service and training.
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If you are interested in an approved online program addressing the many facets of handling R-410A refrigerant, including safety issues and servicing equipment utilizing R-410A refrigerant, you can contact HVACReducation.net.
HVACReducation.net believes that your understanding of the aspects of R - 410A refrigerant relating to fundamentals, applications, safety, handling, charging, and servicing is imperative to your future success in the HVAC/R industry.